I sometimes HAVE to take a little time away from my daily serious photo-finishing work. The need is to play inside of the digital darkroom of course. All work and no play makes Frank a dull boy….. Leading off this AM with some Tile Art.
Inside my greater sphere of photographic/graphic arts interests are a few creative ones. This versus the photorealist my OCD normally requires lol.
One of my favorite play time activities is to put together what I call Mosaic Mirrors. This one I made 3 “Totem” poles in. Were ever mirror images meet, mind magic occurs. The totems either side of the center arch are a stack of Creatures great and small. For you Pariedoliacs out there, this is full of endless wanderings and imaginings. All of the imaging was taken from a photo of the sun setting over a fenceline next to a tree in the backcountry.
Often I’m doing this thinking of classic mid-evil architectural arches and will sometimes build a floor. Here I built a reflecting rippled water mirror under the sun. Technically this was fairly easy to do, I just enjoy the resultant bilateral symmetry that instantly pops into existence. More than just fun though are the amazing anthropomorphic shapes that always form from that symmetry. Those with the tendency terribly to see faces or animals in random data can get lost in either making or studying these. I’m the former. I could make these all day. Tree limbs are particularly are suitable as subjects. Plus you don’t have to get a signed model release. 😜
All of my wildlife encounters are random. I’m usually going somewhere on the ranch. As such I always travel backcountry with a box of cameras. I normally only have two cameras when I travel light. I have found that having instant options is a good thing. But then you have to know WHICH camera to grab for a particular scene… 🤔 Rule number one of photography is: “Have a camera with you. “
Killdeers nest on dry ground but you can sure find them wading around like they own the swamp. This Killdeer is hunting for goodies to eat certainly in the marsh. It paused looked, picked a target and beak to the water went for his intended target. Spearing or grabbing a worm along with some mud mixed with cow poop. My camera machine gunning images as it successfully “hunts”. Sucks to be the worm. 😜
The vast majority of Killdeer that live up here don’t get to enjoy water sports very much or so it seems. This is only about a 5 acre lake and adjacent wetland area. Considered a shorebird, this Ringed Plover is actually living up to their reputation. Most of them around “these parts” nest/hunt out on the open grassland / ranch land. Seeds and getting water from isolated stock tanks seems to work just fine for them. They are going to have an easy year with all the grasshoppers eating vegetation up. This has truly been a year to “take a Mulligan”.
Nesting up here they get a lot of elbow room in the grasslands. Technically the Killdeer is a shorebird of which I have many water’s edge photos of adults like this. But they are unusual in that they many times will nest far from shore. The chicks hatching from their relatively large eggs are born with their boots on. The babies are out of the nest as soon as their partially developed feathers dry. Soon they are out of the nest running around. The babies are well worth pursuing with a long lens. What a hoot they are. 😀
Taken about 12 days ago from this post, narrative written 8 days ago.. Such is my work flow these days. Present future and past reflections a this remote wetlands echo back to us in time and space. A Cottonwood Tree covered dam built many decades ago. A spring fed pond is home to many a gorgeous vista. It will have many more. Each sunset/sunrise is a new pallet of color for me to explore.
I have so many choices of where to pursue the limited time I have to chase the light. Because the wind was dead calm at the homestead. The flags were slag. I thought that a trip a few miles into the backcountry to get to this place would worth the investment of time and gas. .
“Backcountry” …. I’ve defined the term before and for all the time. OK, Here’s how it goes…
This little “Heaven on Earth” is 2 miles of bumpy two track dirt/grass road from the nearest county road. That county road is crushed red scoria (“Clinker”) gravel. Generally local gravel travel over well maintained roads is a dusty pleasure. I point out that these roads are fodder for “Clever Girl”. She eats them up. 🤔👀
So… upon gaining the county gravel, it is 14 miles of curvey / hilly 1.5 lane road to the closest asphalt paved two lane highway. . It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light but there is a 4 way red light 50 miles away lolol. Back far away from population…. = Backcountry or at least that is my definition. My nearest neighbor is about 4 miles away. 2 people per square mile density in this area while there are several hundred cows in the same area. Cattle Country with Dinosaur Bones. …. There certainly are more remote areas of North America but not a lot of difference from those to the lifestyle of living in the “backcountry”.
This spot is about 200 yards from the Montana/Wyoming Border and it has a bit of both states in the image as do most of my photos.
I usually don’t take too many photo’s of Pronghorn walking away. I was watching these young buck wander off and hit the machine gun button on my camera. From my perspective, they were swerving back and forth. It appeared a semi-drunken path as the cattle trail pulled them side to side. The way their color is, blending is part of their evolutionary camo plan. A wonderful color scheme as they really blend into this country. Thusly produced a seamless illusion of “Siamese Twins” I don’t get a chance at too many of these.
Graphic Artist note:
I could have EASILY removed the extra legs but I think they are fine so you can see what’s going on. I get this kind of alignment occasionally. More so from HEHIND lolol. I’ve even built images similar to this for fun. This one is legit and unmolested.
Boy are these Sony Alpha 7R4’s fast on the trigger with a 60 meg .jpg resultant each click. 📷👀 Machine gunning cameras that produce big files is costly to backup and store. I do fill up 32Gig cards with these things. Usually in about an hour and a half’s work on a normal day out in the backcountry. I always run into something interesting out there.
Long Lenses Crush Perspective tremendously. Far and near objects become “closer” in the frame through them. Long telephotos are tricky to use versus wide angle short lenses. They are very sensitive to motion.
Location: my backyard at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)
The lighting during the “Golden Hour” is usually markedly rediish/orange. The distance traveled by that light through the atmosphere is a path that drops the longer wavelengths to the side. I actually drove up in my mobile photo studio (my Ford Raptor) and never had to get out of that portable blind. It took me about 10 minutes to drive up once I crested the hill.
When I approach this area, I slowly encroach in steps. It’s comparable to imitating a grazing animal. The Raptor is pretty quiet. Particularly when compared to my previous Jeep Grand Cherokee. It is also very Black, dark and stealthy in it’s appearance. Lots of black animals walking around the hills (angus cattle). So my new rig is working very well to integrate into the scheme of things up here. The various creatures on ranch become accustomed to that truck with time. I also worked a herd of deer this same evening getting very close for this early in the season.
This particular trip into the backcountry was the first one this spring with Pronghorn AND meadowlarks seen and photographed. The return of the Great Blue Herons signifies the start of nesting season. I have only seen this ONE Heron so far and expect the others to straggle in as they work their way back from winter haunts south. There are 6 nests in the trees across the lake from where this guy stands here. He did fly up to the nest which my truck was parked near. (to look across the lake at this bird). He obviously wasn’t worried about my truck as he was motionless for 20 minutes all through my approach till when I backed up and away to change the scene. (got enough photos lolol).
On a glass Melt Water Pond, high on a ridge that straddles the Montana/Wyoming border, this water from a nearby grassy field. Formerly snow earlier that morning, this melt accumulated very quickly. Nearly 60 degree days lately. Over several hundred acres covered by a foot of snow will fill a good sized pond lol.
So the wind was becalmed and the correspondingly glassy surface of the melt water provided an amazing mirror. It would have faithfully reflected what was beyond for the cameras. So I decided to drive my new truck into the pond and mess up the surface. (I know the bottom). One shot is all you get at this…
Driving through water:
I’ve never had a wheel slip in mud with this truck. As all 35 inch tires are in various 4×4 driving modes. Ford F-150 Raptors are complex and amazing to this old school 4×4 driver . If there is a cooler factory Baja capable truck made anywhere, I’d love to drive it. It’s perfect for what I require to get me into places where most vehicles won’t AND keep me fairly comfortable. My old Jeep Grand Cherokee would get me anywhere. It would just throw you around inside lol.
I like the view this ground has of the horizon. It has a very thin lake shore making it’s horizon band across the image. I’m very aware this is a “Halfie” which is like photographers rule #237. Never have your horizon across the Center. At least it’s level and I never worried much about rules. It’s best not to know about them sometimes as you can’t break them if you don’t know about them…. Right? 😜👀
The morning was cold but we are having a bit of snow at the moment. That could change by the time this posts a full 8 days later lolol. At any rate, here the rear view mirror is reflecting the sunrise side of the sky with the setting moon above. This is not a composite as if it were it would be in perfect focus. I’m thinking that’s going to hard to do this way. I was 50 feet behind the car to take this with a long telephoto NOT out the window which is WAY easier lol. The red on the right side of the frame is a tail light of the vehicle. Kind of a proof of concept image for me , 👀📸
A Backcountry drive in the borderlands: (This image was of my Jeep)
Backcountry Gravel Roads this time of year is hard driving with much snow depth. There are thousands of miles I’ve traveled backcountry when I still had my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Vastly limited in it’s off road activities mid-late winter. I’ve been off on two trail tracks lately (are you kidding lolol) with my F150 Raptor to work at the moment but photographing remote country roads has it’s advantages. . The high Wyotana skies are vibrant with orange to yellow hues most mornings not overcast entirely. Some mornings as this a saturated with the hues.
The Orange sunrise behind is covered in other photos from this drive but the perspective way behind the rear view mirror and a moon gives you was worth the effort.
A mere 6 months ago, middle of a warm summers evening, a sky show broke out…. THe evening was fairly calm with a light breeze. The air contained some grass pollen, some cottonwood pollen so my nose was a little stuffy. You could feel the relative humidity climbing as the air cooled down. Traveling up and down topography, you could feed obvious temperature changes as you moved from falling and rising air.
Every Once in a while, I like to do one of these vehicle mirrored images showing both sides of the sunset (in this case). It’s a commonality that all of us share. Most of us anyway have occupied the driver seat of a vehicle or two.
The Corriente’ Long Horns were out in the middle of a big grassy I sold this vehicle December 31,2019 . I loved my 15 year companion a 2005 Jeep Gran Cherokee. It worked very well for photography of the backcountry. It would pretty much go anywhere my ATV would which is saying something. The king is “dead” long live the king.
The 2020 Ford Raptor I am breaking in as a photographic platform is performing stellar in helping me find light. (so far) Already it has gone on paths I wouldn’t have taken the jeep on in mid-winter. It is stable, allows some movement inside of long lenses. It has WAY bigger mirrors plus they move out of the way with a button’s push. I will see what I get when the light is worth trapping. So far it gets me there…
The Belt of Venus variety of Alpenglow enhancing a rising full moon with it’s man (in the) looking back. This was just after the sun set over my right shoulder. It was an orange sky the other direction. Long wavelength red light makes it through the atmosphere to light up on the projector screen that this summer ice filled sky provided. Summer Belt of Venus is way more uncommon than in the winter.
Rising moons will alway have that face upright looking at you. The setting moon that face is on it’s right side. The moon appears to twist as it rotates but that’s an illusion. It’s actually you that twist as the earth rotates and look at the two different horizons for moon set and rise. It sort of depends on how far north or south of the ecliptic (good google word) the moon is.
Getting the Reflections of a Full Moon in the Borderlands of Wyoming/Montana is a matter of finding a lake lol. We are mostly a dry land ranch. A few small ponds near our well driven hydrants are sparse on the ranch. This one is no exception being hydrant driven. A ranch pumps a lot of water. Fortunately a wet year to kept this lake full all year. This was mid summer with heavy due on the grass and twilight skies miles into the backcountry. It was a wonderful drive to go there that morning.
6 months ago, In a backcountry far far away… (scrolling text talking about Jedi)
Backcountry…. I use the term all the time. OK, Here’s how it goes…
This little mirrored pond is 3 miles of bumpy two track paths from the closest county road. The county road is gravel, it is 14 miles then to the closest paved road. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light but there is a 4 way red light 50 miles away lolol. Back far away from population…. = Backcountry or at least that is my definition. My nearest neighbor is about 4 miles away.
I find that you “are where you are” when the sun goes down. I tend to levitate to reflective scenes but this I live on a “dryland” ranch. We don’t have any running water except during a big rain. Then we have flash floods lolol. Limited to the gullies fortunately. We did have a 4 inch rain in about an hour during which shin high water was running around the back of my house. So we do get some water dumps now and then.
This lake I have seen run dry before but not this year. We were way above average moisture accumulation. It remains full through totally iced over at the moment lol. (January) . Living in the backcountry tends to boil down life to the essentials. I find that photography, simple is usually better. Wood, Water, Grass and Sun combine for this composition.
The morning was cold but we are having a lack of snow at the moment. That could change by the time this posts lolol. At any rate, here the rear view mirror is reflecting the sunrise side of the sky and the main frame shows the Belt of Venus, the pink variety of Alpenglow.
A Backcountry drive in the borderlands:
Backcountry Gravel Roads this time of year are easy driving without snow depth. There are thousands of miles ofI took this back when I still had my Jeep Grand Cherokee which was limited in it’s off road activities mid-late winter. I’d go off on two trail tracks with my new rig to work at the moment but working roads has it’s advantages. You get to use the road itself as a leading line for the eye. It invokes memories of similar drives you have done. Or better gives you insight to a world you haven’t experienced. The high Wyotana skies are vibrant with pink to orange to yellow hues most mornings not overcast entirely. Some mornings as this a saturated with the hues.
The Orange sunrise behind is covered in other photos from this drive but the perspective that the rear view mirror gives you is worth the effort.
Quick Photographic thought.
Have fun with your high fstop when you try this as there are 3 layers of close/far focus issues plus it’s low light so your sucking wind for light to start with. Shutter speed has to be long to compensate, . Hard NOT to over expose the moon and see anything else in the frame. Your riding a knife edge on these.
“Here’s Looking at you Kid” is a Game Trail Camera Capture. I use pretty good cameras (30 meg images) but I have to put a lot of work into each and every image I finish from them. They have their issues but are always candid in their acquisitions.
I’m currently running a network of 26 game trail cameras which takes several trips to swap out cards around the ranch. I usually mix business with pleasure and gather camera SD cards (modern film) when I’m in an area. Some of my cameras may spend the whole winter without me visiting as I can’t always get to them in the snow. They will be there in the spring just the same
This gal is taking advantage of one of the 4 stock tanks I keep open all year. Just enough water ground water flowing to keep it open and not suck our water pressure down to nothing because an open faucet 3 miles of pipline and downhill from the well will pretty much ruin a good shower lolol.
18inch square aspect image.
“Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend” is my way of saying good bye to my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee which has earned a badge as a backcountry Wyoming Road Warrior .
I’m trading it “in” for a “Smoother” riding backcountry rig as the Jeep and the ATV has been rough on me as the wear and tear is problematic..
I drove 3500 miles on my bumpy UTV and Jeep last year in the Backcountry driving on equally bumpy two track roads. I feel like I’ve been working in the mines for 20 years sometimes lol. It’s time for an upgrade. I’m still driving my Jeep until the new truck arrives properly configured for what I do….2020 model…first new car in a long time….
My old friend the jeep could travel anywhere my Polaris Ranger Crew could navigate. I literally never had to put it in low range with that Hemi 5.7 V8 under the hood. It is quick and agile…and is a bumpy jeep lololol….. I’m pretty sure this longer and wider Ford Pickup can’t go down some of my well beaten paths due to the width……But 99 percent of where I go to do photography it can reach without doing any damage to the ground or me …..(more importantly at this point). I can walk the rest. I don’t like driving heavy vehicles off the two track roads anyway. I’m keeping on clicking !! Just changing my ride after 14 years. It’s my daily driver and is already sold sorry, the dealer is letting me drive it till the new truck arrives. (Smart dealer).
Oh, the twilight was amazing that morning and this is a VERY wide 10mm lens of at least 120 degrees wide. This was a huge sky! It was a few weeks ago by the time this image posts…. (I use autoposting software but answer replies in Facebook in real time. )
Good Early Tuesday Morning.. Mirror Mirror @2 Blues came into being when I look at an image of 1/2 a sunset, I mirror it in my mind to see the results. This one looked promising. Indeed!!
The “Totem Pole” (as I call it) up the center of the image will have ALL SORTS of faces and figures. The Bear above the horizon stands out “BIGGLY” to me lolol. 3 ducks below lol.
This Art is built off the left 1/4 of the image being mirrored to the right, melted together then both were mirrored up and down to complete the effect. The colors are true to the event. Nothing messes with them.
I’m seeing a lot more purple in late nights this summer than previous I think….
Two days ago I saw these Reflections Over the Country Pond and knew instantly I was going to be climbing down to water level lol. After a little pre-sunrise (in the dark) scrambling down a slope I couldn’t see… I got the shot and only a muddy lens cap (still muddy as I type this). I have a few more from that morning lol. Later was way good too :).
If you like my work, you might follow my personal FB page to have it flow with your newsfeed or follow me on most social media. Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
This Daddy Long Legs Spider was hanging out on a Yellow Yarrow blossom. I had a pocket mirror I slipped carefully (sloooowly behind him) and took the macro with the other hand. He was a very patient photographic subject until he left suddenly lol.
If you like my work, you might follow my personal FB page to have it flow with your work and maybe find the gallery of my portfolio we are building…